Parents' Guide to

Chestnut: Hero of Central Park

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Implausible dog tale has sweet messages, some mature themes.

Movie G 2006 87 minutes
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Kids say (3):

CHESTNUT: HERO OF CENTRAL PARK has a heart of gold, even if it's a little gold-plated. It's an uplifting family tale about two orphan girls adopted by loving parents, and the kids' fight to keep a beloved pet hidden as long as possible. But it comes with a big implausibility alert: How two girls could ever pull off hiding an enormous Great Dane in a New York City apartment with two involved new parents, much less sneak out daily for exercise and bathroom breaks in Central Park, unsupervised no less, makes the suspension of disbelief a little tough here.

That said, dog lovers will appreciate the kids' escapades in keeping up with a Great Dane who can't avoid mischief, and there's a little bit of Home Alone that creeps in with a side plot about two robbers up to no good. Parents will be relieved to see a really sweet, thoughtful portrayal of friendship and love between two sisters in lieu of the usual bickering. And though it isn't the most well-done family film, the messages here, about compromise, about family love, about giving people the space to adjust to change, about being willing to reconsider your views when evidence points otherwise, are hard to argue with.

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